We Won’t Forget: Pregnancy & Infant Loss
We often discuss the struggles associated with infertility, and we often highlight the joy of successful pregnancies and new babies. However, there is a deep void between those topics that is not addressed as often: pregnancy and infant loss.
For many women, seeing the results of a positive pregnancy test or the first ultrasound are some of the most exciting moments they experience. But those butterflies of excitement and tears of joy can very quickly be replaced by deep sorrow due to a miscarriage or any form of pregnancy and infant loss. It doesn’t matter how early on, or late in the pregnancy – the attachment a mother creates with her baby is undeniable and will be missed if taken away.
So often we try to search for answers as to “why” – but most of the time miscarriages are unexplained and even more importantly, no one’s fault.
1 in 4
Knowing just how often miscarriages occur can be very eye opening. If you look around a room of women and think about the fact that 1 in 4 – that’s 25%, of women experience a miscarriage, it is very likely that you know, have met, or have interacted with many more of these women than you may realize. With such a large number of women affected by miscarriage, it may seem strange that it is still viewed as a taboo topic or at least one not often discussed openly. But it is understandable since death is uncomfortable, and this type of death is easily hidden.
According to the March of Dimes, as many as 50-percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage – but it is hard to know the exact number because it often happens before a woman even knows she is pregnant. About 15-25-percent of known pregnancies will end in a miscarriage. More than 80-percent of miscarriages occur within the first three months of pregnancy.
Given the personal nature of pregnancy in general, many women may choose to only share the news of a loss with their loved ones and close friends. There is no right or wrong number of people to share this news with, but many times it is helpful for women to have an outlet to process the grief and talk through the situation. Recovery from miscarriage both physically and emotionally is different for everyone, but there are many support groups available for women who have experienced loss, such as the We Remember group right here in the Fox Valley.
Simply knowing how often it occurs, and understanding the impact that pregnancy and infant loss has can help break down any barriers that may be present surrounding the topic. It is important to be sensitive to the fact that not every person handles loss the same, and discussing pregnancy can be very difficult for those that have either struggled with infertility or loss. Asking a woman if they want to talk about it allows for the door to be open, but doesn’t force the conversation if she doesn’t want to have it. Not addressing it at all can be worse than bringing it up.
Whether you’ve experienced a loss yourself, know someone who has, or simply want to help build awareness – we invite you to join us in observing National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Day on October 15th. If you want to share your story on our Facebook page or website, we’d love to support you. You can also check out other ways to get involved in the awareness month here.
We’re here for you.